I have known for some time that my approach to things can be unconventional. You don’t have to look any further than how I parent to really get a good sense of this. There are some things that are intentional, like eschewing traditional coloring books, when my children were younger, in favor of blank pages that forced them to create their own images without the constraints of pre-drawn lines to color inside of. There are other things that draw their inspiration from the ether, like spontaneously reaching for the flip video camera when my son refused to eat his vegetables, and then suggesting that I might send the evidence of his misdeeds to grandma, and a certain jolly old elf that lives at the North Pole. He always eats his vegetables now.
Try as I may, to put my kids on the right path, sometimes things go awry. I am not perfect and neither are my children, but at the end of the day they are generally heading in the right direction. Frequently, the hardest thing for me to do is nothing, because I have so much more life experience than my kids have and I can envision the train wreck up ahead. There are also definitely times when my insight is neither desired nor appreciated, and sometimes even counterproductive.
Even though my kids aren’t always receptive to my counsel, one of the things that I most enjoy about my work in the admissions office is being able to share my perspective. While I frequently have opportunities to offer guidance, I am sorry to say that I don’t always give the best advice. Case in point–there was a parent of a fourth grader (that’s right, elementary school) whose child has known for a couple of years that MIT is their college destination. As such, the parent wanted to know how best to prepare the student for admission to MIT.